USAID Planning To Fire Over Half Its Employees In West Bank And Gaza Strip
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been instructed to dismiss over half of its employees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the intention of fully ending its operations in the Palestinian territories next year. “We will assess future U.S. assistance in the West Bank and Gaza in a global context, with a focus on areas in which we can best advance American national interests and ensure value to the U.S. taxpayer,” a State Department official was quoted by Israeli media as saying. The move comes after President Donald Trump cut-off at least $200 million in aid to the Palestinians earmarked for humanitarian projects; suspended direct funding to Mahmoud Abbas’ government in Ramallah; and ended financial support for the United Nations agency tasked with attending to Palestinian refugees. The U.S. administration also closed the Palestinian mission in Washington. The measures were taken after Abbas imposed a boycott on American officials in the wake of Washington’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. USAID has spent about $5.5 billion since opening in Palestinian-administered regions following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.